Closing of Seoul continues as no chances are taken

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Closing of Seoul continues as no chances are taken

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Employees of a disinfection company disinfect the Korean Air Lines flight attendant briefing room at Incheon International Airport on Tuesday. [YONHAP]

LS Group, a major electrical equipment group, closed its office building in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Tuesday after one of its employees was infected with the coronavirus.

The move is the latest in a series of business lockdowns in Korea as the deadly virus, which is called Covid-19 by the World Health Organization, continues to spread throughout the country.

The 28-story LS Yongsan Tower is home to Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the largest accounting firm in Korea, as well as key LS Group companies, including LSIS and LS-Nikko Copper.

About 4,000 people work in the tower.

The worker in question is an employee of an LS company and was confirmed as infected with the coronavirus late Monday night.

The office building will remain shut through the week, and employees from the affected units are required to work from home while the building is being cleaned.

The infected worker, who lives in Gyeonggi, worked on the 16th floor. Employees working on the 16th and 15th floors will be required to self?quarantine at home for two weeks.

Amorepacific’s headquarters, the iconic structure next to the LS Yongsan Tower, was closed, and all employees of the cosmetics company were asked to work from home.

As a precaution, the personal care company disinfected the building on Tuesday. Its factory in Osan, Gyeonggi, will be shut Feb. 26 and 27.

Samil PwC advised all of its employees to work from home or on-site at the offices of clients. The spread of the virus took place at the height of the audit season, but the firm said that its digitalization efforts will lessen the impact.

“We acknowledge that people are worried about a disruption in auditing, but we have made a significant investment to digitalize the process,” the firm said in a statement.

Outside of the Yongsan area, similar measures came thick and fast.

A Korean Air Lines flight attendant was found on Tuesday to be infected with the coronavirus, and the airline closed the flight attendant briefing room at Incheon International Airport.

SK Group extended flexible working hours and relaxed the rules for remote work on Monday, requesting employees avoid coming to the office if possible.

KT followed suit, ordering only 50 percent of employees to work in the office until March 6.

LG Electronics and internet companies Kakao and Naver advised workers who are pregnant or raising children under elementary school age to stay home and work there. All Samsung companies are instituting similar policies.

E-commerce or tech-focused start-ups also stepped up their efforts to protect workers from the spread of the virus.

Coupang, eBay Korea, Gmarket, Banksalad and game developer Blizzard have asked employees to work from home.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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